Holy Trinity Church of Ireland and St Mary’s Catholic Church, Westport

A report on this wonderful event from Caroline Goucher:Westport Award 2

The congregations of Holy Trinity Church of Ireland and St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Westport Eco-Congregation were delighted to receive their Eco-Congregation Ireland Award on Sunday April 22nd, also International Earth Day.

Over the last two years the strong committee with the assistance of the schools and many other community groups travelled together on this journey to Care for Creation, inspired by the publication of Pope Francis ‘Laudato Si' (Italian for ‘Praise Be to You’). In it, the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental and global warming and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action”. In the Westport area the response to 'Care of Creation' is together to raise awareness of this, with the vision to see local community churches adopt an eco-approach to worship, lifestyle, property, finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

On the day of the presentation of the award, in Holy Trinity, Rev. Val Rogers welcomed the award at the 11:30 service followed by the presentation in St. Mary’s at 12pm where Fr. Patrick Burke reflected on the gospel of The Good Shepherd and the observation of the flocks with spring lambs a regular sighting that week, and how we can all protect our local environment for the greater good of society, each and every act by each of us, matters.

GuWestport Award 1est of honour Sr. Catherine Brennan of Eco–Congregation Ireland presented the award to members of the Westport Eco-Congregation on behalf of the congregations in the community. In her speech she acknowledged the committee for being a voice at this critical time, calling for us all to sustain and renew our planet. Sr Catherine quoting Pope Francis said "Each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God's love. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God "(LS 84).

A message of thanks was extended to Melissa Griffith of The Green Sod and to Sharon Cameron Environment Awareness of Mayo County Council who were the auditors of the application process, who commended the efforts made on the promotion of Zero Waste; Reduction of Plastic in Supermarkets; New Recycling legislation; encouraging cycling and walking to mass; the advent ‘Chain of Change’ and Earth Hour.

Westport is the first parish in the west to achieve this award. The plaques were made from recycled church pews by The Grassmarket Community Project in Scotland, these will be displayed in each church.

Catherine concluded, quoting an ancient poet "The Holy Spirit sleeps in the stone, dreams in the flower and awakens to life in humanity" calling us all to answer the vocation to continue to Care for Creation.  All gathered in Carrowbeg House for the celebrations and the cake cutting sponsored by O’Connor’s SuperValu.

The group meets once a month, in Carrowbeg House. The next meeting is Tuesday 22nd May 2018 at 8pm. All Welcome, to plan a month of events in September 2018 for Season of Creation, for the journey for the Gold Award commences.

Westport Eco-Congregation's Vision Statement:

Since the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ to remind us the Earth is our Common Home.  St.Mary’s and the Holy Trinity communities have come together to form Westport Eco-Congregation, to promote awareness of our environment. Our vision is to see churches throughout Ireland adopt an eco-approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

All photos by Stephan Breton. View more photos here.